Siobhán Airey: The Jurisdiction of Development Aid

The Jurisdiction of Development Aid

Siobhán Airey

The governance of influential international activities not currently formalised through an international treaty or agreement has been the focus of intense debate in international legal scholarship in recent years. Motivated by a desire for greater accountability of more powerful actors, attention has focused on how these activities are, and should be governed, and the potential role for law and legal process therein. Drawing from thinking on juridification and on jurisdiction, this project sketches a proposal for an analytical lens that has potential to describe and analyse such international activities in sharper legal terms, thereby making more explicit the legal quality of their existing governance in ways that are currently overlooked by more formalist approaches. The proposal draws together insights from thinking on global governance, on juridification, and on the concept of jurisdiction to analyse the governance of Official Development Assistance (ODA). The transfer of ODA is an influential and sensitive area of international relations that is currently not governed by an international treaty. Its governance has recently been the focus of dedicated scholarly attention from legal, international relations and development studies scholars. This approach seeks to foreground the relationship between power and the legal form, an issue of key concern to critical legal scholars. It aims to deepen our understanding of the relationship between the legal nature of governance instruments, and the politics of the projects that are pursued at the international level through diverse governance instruments and frameworks.

From Ireland, Siobhán is completing her PhD in law at the University of Ottawa and will shortly commence an Irish Research Council Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Postdoctoral Fellowship (Oct 2017 – Sept 2020), with University College Dublin, Ireland and the Transnational Institute, Amsterdam focusing on the international governance of the financing of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Her research engages ideas from law, critical theory, political economy and development theory to examine the evolving role of law and the legal form in modes of global governance of transnational ‘projects’. Her research interests include legal theory, law and global governance, law and colonialism, and issues related to financialisation, feminism, the anthropocene and cultural studies. She has been a visiting researcher at the European University Institute, Florence; the School of Regulation and Global Governance, Australia National University, Canberra, the School of Law, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam and the College of Business, University College Dublin. She is also an alumni of Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global Law and Policy. She is very appreciative of the various fellowships and scholarships awarded in recognition of her research endeavours, and of the community of scholars, friends and her parents that motivate her work. She has an MA in Equality Studies, and an LLM in International Human Rights Law.


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